Poland, enhancing tourism through sport

In Poland, tourism is a mildly important sector to the Country’s economy. A reported in the “Travel & Tourism Economic Impact 2017” by the World Travel & Tourism Council, in 2016 tourism represented 1,8% of direct contribution to GDP, generating a PLN 37,7bn (8,8bn euros) value, and it is foreseen to grow up to PLN 53,3bn (12,5mld euros) by 2027. The total contribution, including the indirect and induced one, was PLN 83,3bn (19,5bn euros), namely 4,5% of GDP.

Poland as a tourist destination has a strong leisure connotation. In 2016, the domestic and foreign tourism expense for this purpose was 80,4% of direct contribution to tourism, against 19,6% for the business travel segment. It is interesting to underline that 69,8% of direct contribution is given by the international tourism expense (PLN 44,5bn, namely 10,4bn euros). In fact, as highlighted in the “Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report” by the World Economic Forum, the destination can count on an interesting “International Openness” (26th out of 141 Countries). Further strength points are “Environmental Sustainability” (28th) and “Cultural Resources and Business Travel” (35th). The same report underlines the challenges that the Country is facing in “Priorization of Travel & Tourism” (99th) and the possibility of improving “Air Transport Infrastructure” (73rd).

As reported by the destination portal GotoPoland.eu, the number of international tourists in the Country has been growing since 2014. During that year, Poland welcomed 16 million international arrivals, with an average tourism spending of 400 euros per stay (480 euros in the business segment). The most important origin markets are Germany (about 3 million arrivals), Lithuania, UK and Italy. The number of Ukrainian tourists grew by 15% from 2015. Also the number of Chinese tourists has been rising with a more than 20% pace of growth, and spending more than 1000 euros per day, as they prefer staying in luxury accommodation facilities. On the other hand, Russian tourists had a 8% loss. The favourite destinations are Krakow, along with the historical-cultural site of Auschwitz, in Oświęcim.
In the month of March, the Prime Minister, supported by the Ministry of Sport and Tourism, stated to push on sport events as the key to enhance Poland as tourism destination, also considering the success of the European Week of Sport which held in September 2016.

In 2015, the Polish Government published the “Tourism Development Plan until 2020”. The most important goals are enhancing the destination competitiveness, reducing the fragmentation which characterises this sector through an integrated collaboration among the players of the industry and designing tourism products which involve both urban and rural areas. The Plan also foresees an intense online marketing, which aims to expand the popularity of the destination and the success of the promotion campaigns. Poland, along with Slovakia, Czech Republic and Hungary, joined the project called “Discover Central Europe“, which aims to promote this region of Europe to possible tourism flows.

According to the UK Foreign Travel Advice, Poland is a safe destination, with a low threat deriving from international terrorism and a low crime rate.

At Twissen we observed that tourism in Poland has interesting growth opportunities. As a result of the Government statements, new opportunities can be developed in the sport tourism and events segment. As Poland is a mature destination for the leisure segment, tourism products can be designed for business travels, as the Country has the appropriate resources to meet the demand of this segment.